Born to Be Wild?

PHOTO PROMPT© Lisa Fox

The used Harley cost a pretty penny and didn’t look anything like “Captain America’s” chopper, but I had to taste the wild wind and the freedom of the open road.  I was off to discover America some 50 years after Peter and Dennis.

Giving up the Interstates was difficult.  Too easy.

But the “real” America wasn’t much more difficult. 

I stopped in some town in the middle of Missouri.  Or was it Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania or New York?

Same truck stop, same conversation, same culture.

Checking my phone for the 50th time that day, had I really found freedom?

***

word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by  Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo by @ Lisa Fox. If you want to join or see other stories, go to the inlinkz linkup.

I’m still in vacation mode, but will try to visit more stories than the last two weeks…

45 thoughts on “Born to Be Wild?

  1. Bear

    Good question… freedom is one of those words that has a different meaning for each individual. I always did love riding a bike, but I can’t say I equated it with freedom, more like the need to develop a forcefield for bugs. LOL!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yes, everyone does have a different meaning for “freedom”. There are some, though, that romanticize the open road and think it is the ultimate freedom – Peter Fonda’s Captain America being their ideal of a free man, bugs in the teeth and all… But, of course, freedom comes from the inside, not the outside, that no bike or road will make you free if you don’t free yourself.

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      1. Bear

        So true and so well said. I DO miss riding, though it’s not going to be doable for me anymore. Still, those are generally happy memories…wind in hair, bugs and all. :)

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  2. granonine

    I think it would be much more to the point to STAY in one of those small town for a couple of years, get to know people, figure what makes them who they are. Otherwise, yes, all those little whistle stops are going to seem all alike.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      You do have a good point about staying someplace and understanding it. It all looks the same on the surface, and regionalism isn’t as pronounced as it was, so a cursory glance shows us a blandness, and the differences are a bit more subtle, but in a good way for the people living it. Of course that goes against the grain of the romanticism of the open road that is such a big theme in our culture, and particularly the counter-culture. It looks great in a movie or a book, but it is up to the traveler to make it work in reality.

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  3. Shannon

    Too true! I miss the days when you didn’t have to ‘unplug’ to get some down time. And when doing so didn’t feel so uncomfortable, like denying an addiction. Our electronics have trained us well.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It is an addiction, and social media makes it worse. As do other people, who expect you do answer texts instantly. I like being phoneless for big clunks of the day, but it does annoy some people when they can’t reach me….

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  4. rochellewisoff

    Dear Trent,

    Once more I “head out on the highway” with an earworm. Evocative story. I loved the way you set the tone with every truck stop being the same. Well done on more than one level.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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  5. Lorraine

    Gone are the days of William Least-Moon’s Blue Highways . . . sigh. When we did our 6 week cross country trek in 1982, we stuck to back roads, national forest and army corp of engineer campgrounds. Truck stops were pit stops. I can’t remember if everyone was talking about the same things, but we saw some strange stuff in rural America. Even before the internet.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      As a kid we used to travel on off roads all of the time, though sometimes hit the Interstates for speed. Yep, camping in national parks and forests, etc. There was a lot of different culture back then, but more recently (and more east of the Mississippi River), things are much more homogeneous than back then. Yeah, some of the strange “roadside attractions” out west were… I don’t know if any of them still exist.

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      1. Lorraine

        Like Wall Drugs, the Jackalope; we skipped the Black Hills because it was so commericalized and monetized! Wasn’t there a restaurant shaped like a UFO somewhere? We did feel the pull of Devil’s Tower, lol.
        When I was very young, to give my mother a break, my father took me for rides down the backroads. And, when we drove from Ontario to Nova Scotia, we swung down through backwoods Maine.
        My mother hated highways, so we took every back road there was.
        When a radio became affordable, it is said, the dilects of rural America started to disappear as everyone wanted those “smooth” radio voices.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I know I said no Interstates, but they are close if you take 90 from Albany to Cleveland, 71 down to Columbus and then 70 across to Missouri ;) (yes, I have been on all of those roads many times) But back to no Interstates, small town US is pretty homogeneous right now, and if you don’t look beyond the exact same stores in the exact same buildings full of people people who are talking about the exact same things (though maybe different accents) and see the actual landscape, you might have a hard time telling one place from another.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Now that might have been his problem… If he was following in Peter Fonda and Dennis’ Hopper’s footsteps instead, he might not have been free, but he’d be too stoned to know the difference…

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  6. GHLearner

    Great story and very thought provoking. It’s part of the freedom to have these places… or go somewhere else and make individual discoveries. If you want to be part of a group though, that’s how it is.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks. Yeah, I know, but Jack was only along for part of the ride.
      I was going to put “diner”, but for some reason, “truck stop” stuck out – I think because I was just listening to REM and that line “Here’s a truck stop instead of Saint Peter’s” was running through my mind, but at least he didn’t stop at McDonalds! Or Panera, or Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts or…

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      My new phrase: The more things change, the more everyone in the world is the same ;)
      It is freedom for some, but I think we all have to bring our own freedom with us – it isn’t the bike or the destination, but the person who is seeking it.

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